A Paraeducator’s Guide to Understanding Levels of Support

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A Paraeducator’s Guide to Understanding Levels of Support

For both SPED teachers and paraeducators, it’s essential to know the difference between levels of support and how to apply them. Each student receiving special education services is different, so we can’t treat them all the same. 

In order to help each student meet their full potential, we have to make sure that the support we give helps them move forward. 

Supporting a student with disabilities requires a balancing act. You never want to over-support and push a child with a disability towards learned helplessness. You also never want to under-support and have a student struggle unnecessarily. So how do you know what level of support to provide and what the levels even are?

Understanding levels of support

According to Noodle Nook founder and experienced SPED educator Ayo Jones, paraeducators are more than simply another body in the classroom. They are a meaningful part of the SPED team, and learning how to support students at different levels helps make a difference. 

The 5 levels of support are:

  • Transitional
  • Low 
  • Medium
  • High
  • Intensive

Not all students will require the same level of support throughout the day. Some might need more help at certain times or with certain activities. Others might be able to complete a task on their own but have simply never been allowed to try. When we assume a student can’t do something just because of their disability, we are robbing them of the chance to build self-confidence and life skills. 

Learn how to support your students


In the course, SPED Paraeducators — Understanding Levels of Support for Students with Disabilities, Ms. Jones breaks down the 5 levels of support a special education paraeducator and teacher can provide to a student with a disability. Ms. Jones walks you through the steps to help determine what level is appropriate for the students you work with and their specific needs. 

This session works well for training and preparing paraeducators for their special education job duties and as a partnered training between a teacher and their para partner. As a bonus, this course takes the time to work through actual case studies and apply the levels of support in practical situations.

Paraeducators are a vital part of the team

This session is part of the Special Education Paraeducator Training Series. The series is all about preparing paraeducators (and their teacher partners) to support students with disabilities in the classroom. This series delivers on guidelines, best practices, essential strategies, and critical information to support staff specific to working in special education.

In this 30-minute course, you will learn:

  • The 5 levels of support in a special education classroom
  • How to individualize support for students with disabilities
  • How to apply the levels of support through specific case studies

Most importantly, after taking this course, you’ll develop a better understanding of what varying levels of support can look like for students with disabilities as well as how to individualize that support. Guided by best practices, our general guidelines, and a student-centered mentality, you’ll be a stronger and more effective paraeducator.

Get started today

If you’re ready to learn how to become an exceptional paraeducator, take a look at the demo for this course now. 

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